Fall is in full swing with ragweed, fall aster and goldenrod in bloom. October 25 is the average date of first frost. The bees are raising the last brood they will until after the winter solstice in late December. The bees being born now have special larger fat reserves and will live 4 – 6 months or more rather than bees born in the summer, who live for about 45 days.
Our bees are healthy. We have been sucessful in reducing pest loads to low levels and the colony sizes are large. While the queens have been laying less through out the fall, we still have a good quantity of brood. All our hives have 60 -80 pounds or more of honey and bee bread.
To get our bees ready for the cold weather to come, we fed them what we hope is the last syrup on October 4. We also leveled the hives to ensure that they are leaning slightly forward to help condensation drain from the hives. In late December, when the last of the brood hatches out, we will treat again with oxalic acid vaporization to reduce mite levels to the lowest possible levels.
This coming week, we will remove the hive top feeders, and install inner covers with insulation board on top. Other fall chores that remain include installing mouse excluders on the entrances, and cleaning up the garden around the apiary.